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Socioeconomic factors and happiness: evidence from self-reported mental health data

Author

Listed:
  • Jacek Rothert

    () (U.S. Naval Academy)

  • Douglas VanDerwerken

    () (U.S. Naval Academy)

  • Ethan White

    () (U.S. Navy)

Abstract

This study investigates socioeconomic and health-related factors that contribute to well-being in America, partially replicating the analysis of Oswald and Wu (Rev Econ Stat 93(4):1118–1134, 2011) using many more years’ worth of data. In particular, data from more than 2 decades of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys were used to investigate to what degree various factors explain the self-reported number of bad mental health days in the past month. We find that self-reported mental health changes most with age, employment situation, and marital status. Mental health was worse when income was less than peer group average or weight was more than peer group average, and the strength of these effects differed by gender. Because data spanned several decades, we were able to estimate generational effects and time trends, unlike otherwise similar analyses of BRFSS data.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacek Rothert & Douglas VanDerwerken & Ethan White, 2020. "Socioeconomic factors and happiness: evidence from self-reported mental health data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 3101-3123, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:58:y:2020:i:6:d:10.1007_s00181-019-01655-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-019-01655-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chris Sampson’s journal round-up for 18th May 2020
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2020-05-18 11:00:07

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Utility; Happiness; Mental health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • Z2 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics
    • Z28 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Policy

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